Tag Heuer partners with Intel, Google on Apple-slaying smartwatch

Tag Heuer, you know, that luxury watch brand specialising in crafting traditional timepieces, is divebombing into the smartwatch swimming pool thanks to a firm hand on the back by Apple.

After the Cupertino company launched its Apple Watch a few weeks ago, and Swatch announced that it will fit its timepieces with NFC chips, Tag Heuer has confirmed that it too will be sending its chronographs to smartwatch school, but with one important exception — it will aim to keep its smartwatches’ aesthetics as close to those of the originals.

The watch will be powered by an Intel chipset, which is probably the most interesting announcement of them all, considering that Intel has yet to delve into the world of smartwatches itself. It has, however, made smart jewelry with the likes of Opening Ceremony, but that particular fashion-first gizmo lacked the functionality of a smartwatch.

Read more: Intel, Opening Ceremony unveil $1000 smartband for supermodels

But that’s not the only partnership that was announced. Google is also involved, which means Tag’s watch could very well run Android Wear.

Tag Heuer’s CEO Jean-Claude Biver, speaking to Reuters, had a few Samsung-like digs at Apple too, jesting that Cupertino’s smartwatch isn’t exactly a real watch at all:

People will have the impression that they are wearing a normal watch. […] Apple will get young people used to wearing a watch and later maybe they will want to buy themselves a real watch.

For one, he’s probably right.

Not only will the smartwatch sector disrupt the traditional timepiece segment, those watch makers themselves can perhaps also get a slice of the wrist-worn pie. For the most part, smartwatches tend to lack a clear purpose and the “I just have to have it” factor that many other tech items possess (namely gaming consoles, for one).

Apple Watch could change this, both for smartwatches and (excuse the pun) timeless watches.

Read more: Apple Watch: all you need to know about Apple’s digital ticker

Of course, Tag Heuer has also just started the smartwatch versus watch flame war, which was a dialogue that was bound to happen sooner or later. Tag Heuer has also remained true to its roots, suggesting that smartwatches stemming from the Carerra line won’t deviate too far from its analog forefather.

For those worrying that a move into smartwatch territory (Mountain View and Santa Clara) would take the Tag Heuer out of Tag Heuer, Biver reassured fans of the marque will remain as Alpine as always in an interview with Bloomberg.

The hardware and the software will come from Silicon Valley. But the watch case, the dial, the design, the idea, the crown, that part of the watch will, of course, be Swiss.

The Silicon Valley-Switzerland combo watch will launch “next [northern] autumn” noted Biver.

Updates to follow…

Andy Walker, former editor


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